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WERE YOU CONVICTED OF A FELONY AND SERVED TIME IN PRISON? YOU MAY SEEK TO RESTORE YOUR RIGHTS WITH A FELONY REDUCTION OR CERTIFICATION OF REHABILITATION AND PARDON.

Posted by George L. Fernandez | Nov 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

Certification of Rehabilitation and Pardon

For people were were convicted of a felony and did serve time in state prison, there is still hope!

Getting a Certificate of Rehabilitation will allow employers to know you successfully completed all the terms relating to your conviction, and are “rehabilitated” from the conviction. Once a Certificate of Rehabilitation is obtained, you can apply to the governor for a full pardon.

What is a Certification of Rehabilitation? 

It is a declaration made by court order in California that says a person convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or sex offense has been rehabilitated. This certificate restores both civil and political rights to ex-offenders who have proven their rehabilitation.  It is particularly effective because it is issued by the Judge to vouch for your reputation.

What is a Pardon?

A pardon is an honor granted by the Governor to those who have exhibited exemplary behavior after they were convicted of a crime. It removes most penalties that accompany a criminal conviction (but not all). 

Who is Eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation or a Pardon?

There are many factors to be considered regarding eligibility for a certificate of rehabilitation, and for many, this is an option when expungement is not available. 

In general, you must:

  • Have been convicted of a felony.
  • Served your sentence in state prison.
  • Be totally discharged or released on parole.
  • Have lived in California continuously for the last five years. 

However, there are other types of cases that are also eligible. Just about anyone is eligible for a pardon, so long as they did not commit their crime in another state or country and it was not a felony offense or a military offense. 

Benefits of Certification of Rehabilitation and Pardon

In some cases, expunging your conviction may not be possible. However, Certification of Rehabilitation and pardons can be effective tools in regaining some of your rights, applying for jobs, getting housing, and generally just moving forward with life. Both serve as proof that you have been rehabilitated. 

Pardons and Certificates of Rehabilitation


We only recommend that you attempt a California Pardon or Certificate of Rehabilitation for the purpose of gun rights restoration if you are not eligible for reduction. While our current Governor Newsom has granted numerous pardons, most Governors do not. Even if you successfully obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation, the Governor must still grant the pardon to get your gun rights back.  Do keep in mind, the Governor can grant a pardon that specifically does not restore your gun rights if he or she chooses.

How Do They Differ from an Expungement? 

In most cases, an expungement is more powerful than a pardon or a Certificate of Rehabilitation. Your record no longer shows a conviction and shows a dismissal instead. However, most felonies are not eligible to be expunged, and not everyone qualifies.

Felony Reductions for Gun Rights Restoration


Successful cases come from ensuring you have continued leading a law-abiding lifestyle. If you have a record of serious offenses, your case may have a lower chance of success.

The two main types of reductions that we recommend are the traditional section 17 reduction and the Proposition 64 reduction. Traditional reductions work for numerous felonies, while Proposition 64 reductions only work for marijuana-related convictions.  Because it can be complicated to verify eligibility, founding attorney Mr. George L. Fernandez will check if your case is eligible for reduction. Reach out to us today at 562-495-7900 and we can expeditiously screen your case for eligibility.

The Law Office of George L. Fernandez is a Property Law (Landlord Tenant) law firm representing tenant's, residential, and commercial property owners and managers. This article is for general information purposes only. While the Law Office of George L. Fernandez  provides clients with information on legislative changes, our courtesy notifications are not meant to be exhaustive and do not take the place of legislative services or membership in trade associations. Our legal alerts are provided on selected topics and should not be relied upon as a complete report of all new changes of local, state, and federal laws affecting property owners and managers. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office.

About the Author

George L. Fernandez

Passion. Experience. Diligence. Get in touch We at the Fernandez Law Group know that finding the right attorney to represent you is a choice not to be taken lightly. That's why we offer free consultations to discuss your legal problems, goals and objectives, Book an appointment ▸ FOUNDER & PR...

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Licensed in California and the Central District Federal Courts

Law Offices of George L. Fernandez is located in Southern California offering representation for Criminal Defense, DUI/DWI Defense, Landlord/Tenant, Business Law, and Personal Injury.

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